Being a Work-From-Home Mother Is Not What I Expected

Turns out it’s overwhelming

Lana Graham
Dec 4, 2019 · 3 min read
Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Before I had kids I dreamed of having a big family. Like a whole cricket team of kids.

And in that perfect family, I was a work-from-home mother, raising my tribe of kids and running my own successful business from home. I’d breastfeed between business calls and have lunch at a local cafe with my kids.

Now that I work from home with three young kids, the reality isn’t what I expected.

It’s overwhelming.

Going to a cafe for lunch with the kids is literally a recurring nightmare. I get anxiety just thinking about it. My kids are the ones who refuse to use cutlery. And my one-year-old enjoys food fights.

Being a work-from-home parent is tiring.

If you’re not tired then you’re sick, or one of the kids are sick. All the time.

Your friends haven’t seen you in months because you’re too exhausted to meet with them.

The washing is in the basket to be ironed, still sitting on the laundry floor where it was a week ago.

But there’s a saviour: School. Or for the younger ones, daycare. I’m lucky to have my two youngest in daycare for two days a week while the eldest goes to primary school.

What do I do with this free time? Clean the toilet? Prepare a horde of meals and freeze them for when I don’t have time to cook? Write customer quotes I’ve put off for the past week?

Or dare I say, do something for myself?

Finding ‘me time’

When you work from home, it’s important to plan time to do the things you love. Self-care is vital. Set up a clear family/work divide, or else you’ll be working during family time. And you won’t have any ‘me time.’

‘Me time’ means writing time. I’m a planner geek. I recently purchased my fifth planner from Amazon. It’s a beautiful faux antique leather journal and it’s crisp off-white pages beckon me to fill it with all the wonderful things I plan to do with my day.

I like to plan my day to maximise work efficiency. Sometimes plans get pushed aside for more important things, like hanging out with my kids to watch Paw Patrol, or to go on an adventure on our property to look for ‘special rocks.’

Being content with ‘good enough’

There’s usually not enough time in the day to get everything done. As a perfectionist, that makes me anxious. But there’s a sense of freedom that comes with letting go of your own expectations and acknowledging you’re good enough, just as you are.

Even if that means your kids eat leftover spaghetti for dinner (or vegemite on toast) because you don’t have the time or energy to cook.

Giving in to the urge to complete every job on your to-do list can free up a lot of mental space. I used to think I was a failure as a mother if I didn’t get everything ticked off my list.

A great way to feel a sense of achievement is to turn your to-do list into a ta-da list. Rather than writing everything you need to accomplish in your day, write down everything you do as you do it.

Ate breakfast? Check.

Had a shower? Check.

Cuddled my kids? Check.

I’m slowly learning how to incorporate a ta-da list into my life. I don’t always use it, but for those days when I’m less motivated to get things done, a ta-da list helps me see that I’m actually accomplishing a lot.

And on those days when you’ve got an overwhelmingly crazy amount of things to do, then it’s back to the good old to-do list. Only this time I’m not going to freak out if I don’t get everything done. Because there’s always tomorrow.

If you enjoyed reading this article, join my mailing list to read more.

Lana Graham is Editor of Mama Write. She writes about parenting and her writing journey and lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner (her rock) and their three amazing sons.

Mama Write

Be a Mama and a Writer

Lana Graham

Written by

Editor of Mama Write. Lover of tea and planner geek. Mama of 3 sons from Sydney, Australia. Visit my website at

Mama Write

Be a Mama and a Writer

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade